Name of the Day: Leo & Co.February 24, 2009
I remember when I first heard this name. The year: 1997. The place: a dingy dorm room in Columbia, MO. The occasion: my roommate’s obsession with all things “Titanic.” She seemed to be on a nickname basis with the leading man. This was the first time I had ever heard of Leonardo DiCaprio, and I remember thinking as I heard her talk about it, “What an incredibly pretentious name.”
The years have rolled by, like a ship tossed by the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Gosh, but it’s been a lot of years. DiCaprio has been on the scene for long enough to take the shock factor out of his name. And so, with an effort to disassociate Leo from fangirl obsessions (NOT mine, other people’s), I am starting to see the name in a new light.
The only downside: it has the potential to get really popular over the next few years, as people start to catch on to its charms. It’s still safe for now, though, at #238. Which, for the boy list, is practically obscure. So don’t let that stop you.
In a world where bestowing an unusual name on a boy is always a risky business, Leo is suave and confident. It’s fairly safe from the girls (for now). It’s short, but very masculine. It ends in O; which, according to Wattenberg, is becoming the new X: a quirky, unusual ending that makes the name stand out from its peers. In other words, it will stick out in a classroom full of boy names ending in N. It also has a very attractive meaning — at least for a young boy. There are plenty of hero namesakes. And it doesn’t have to have a longer form; it is a perfectly legitimate name by itself.
But, in case you would like a longer form to fall back on, here are some names that can yield Leo as a nickname.
Ways to Get to Leo
Leon: This one isn’t bad. I think it’s been used primarily by African-Americans. I’m also getting a faint Russian vibe from it; I’m not sure why.
Leonard: All Star Trek to me (because of McCoy and Nimoy). Also for some reason I picture a curly-haired blond boy — and yet, it’s not a pleasant image. There’s something strange about this name. Maybe it’s the consonant cluster getting to me.
Leonardo: Would take a lot of chutzpah to use. Unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to have Italian ancestry.
Leopold: my favorite of the bunch. I’m not sure if it’s really usable or not, though. Perhaps a bit stodgy.
Leonidas: Go ahead and use this name … for tonight we dine in hell! (sorry, couldn’t resist)
Leolin (a variant of Llywelyn)
Leofric (an Anglo-Saxon name)
Lawrence (maybe stretching a bit)
Leander: nice, and maybe the most usable of the group?
A strong-yet-friendly name common among the Romans, used for thirteen popes, that is now on the upswing, partly via the Leonardo fallout factor. Lipstick Jungle actress Kim Raver called her son Leo Kipling.
from Oxford Dictionary of First Names
From a Late Latin personal name, meaning ‘lion’, which was borne by a large number of early Chriatian saints, most notably Pope Leo the Great (390-491)
from Baby Name Wizard
Style: Antique Charm, Guys and Dolls, Saints
Sisters and Brothers: Lucy, Clara, Ruby, Lillie, Eva, Julius, Milo, Felix, Sam, Theo
Could ‘o’ be the next ‘x’? X is the hottest letter in town, lending its offbeat style to powerhouses like Max and Alex. But an ‘o’ at the end of a name brings you plenty of quirky cool and a less crowded playing field. And Leo’s a perfect pal for Max.
from Beyond Jennifer and Jason
Honest Names, TV Names, Fitting In & Standing Out, Yuppie Names, All-Boy Names, French Names, Unusual Saint Names